The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar has called on the federal government to negotiate with Boko Haram for the release of Chibok girls abducted over a year ago.
The monarch who cited an example with the United States of America which negotiated with Taliban and agreed to the release five of their top commanders for one American soldier, said Nigeria could also do the same for the release of Chibok girls, “because every life is sacred”.
The Sultan, who spoke when he hosted members of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Sokoto and Kaduna States, said, “We should do whatever it takes to restore peace in this country.”
The monarch also made case for the release of innocent people under detention by the military for alleged link with the group.
The Sultan, who described insurgency as a common enemy of Nigerians, maintained that Islam represents peace.
“We are all suffering from the terrible consequences of terrorism. Muslims and Christians are being killed, just as churches and mosques are being bombed,” he said.
He offered condolences over the killing of innocent people in the past one week in Kano, Borno, Yobe, Plateau and Zaria.
The Sultan maintained that dialogue remains the best solution to the crisis.
He reiterated that no amount of force could defeat insurgency and that the earlier the two parties return to the negotiation table, the better for the country.
“When I advised former President Goodluck Jonathan to dialogue with Boko Haram, a lot of people criticised me that I was supporting dialogue with ghosts, but since then, nothing has changed. Are we now ready to dialogue with ghosts? The ghost that are killing us everyday, destroying our mosques and churches, shedding innocent blood,” he said.
He expressed confidence in the ability of the newly appointed service chiefs to curb the menace of Boko Haram, while calling on Nigerians to join hands with the new government to bring the desired change.
“The change Nigerians yearned for has come and the work to actually realize that change is yet to begin. The real job starts now and all Nigerians must join hands to move Nigeria forward, irrespective of our differences,’’ he said.
The monarch also said the anti-gay law signed by the immediate past government would remain forever, adding that nobody can force Nigerians to accept something that is completely against their religions and culture.
He expressed disappointment over the lingering leadership crisis at the National Assembly, hoping that the lawmakers would resolve their problems amicably.
He chided some religious leaders for making inflammatory remarks, urging them to always guide their utterances.
The Sultan further debunked insinuations that there were plans to Islamize Nigeria.
“You cannot plan something without a blueprint. Where is the blue print that we are planning to Islamize Nigeria? Religious leaders should always guide their comments because our comments always carry weight,” he said.
He stressed the need for the judiciary to always discharge its responsibilities with fear of God.
“Judiciary must be the last hope of the common man. They should do their work with the fear of God. They must help us have a peaceful country where justice reigns supreme,” he said.
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